CALHOUN, Ga. -- If history is any indication, all the stars are lined up for the Calhoun Yellow Jackets to bring home their first state football championship in 59 years.
Make that all the Lambs are lined up. The last time three members of the Lamb family led a football team, the result was a state title. In 1981, the Commerce Tigers defeated Greene County 28-14 to cap a 13-1-1 season with the school's first football championship. The Commerce coach was Ray Lamb, the quarterback was Bobby Lamb and the top receiver was Hal Lamb, now the Calhoun coach.
As he leads his 13-0 and second-ranked Jackets into tonight's Class AA semifinal against Appling County (12-1), nephew Taylor Lamb and son Ben Lamb will be key players. Hal Lamb, whose team has lost three consecutive title games, hopes this time history does repeat itself.
"It was a special year in 1981 with Bobby at quarterback, me at receiver and our dad coaching," he said. "Of course, back then we didn't throw it more than 10 or 12 times a game, so it's different from what we do now. We picked our times to throw it, and when we did we had some success."
In that title game Bobby Lamb ran for two touchdowns and passed to Hal for another. The two were part of an offense that scored 449 points that season. It's a feat the two younger Lambs have heard plenty about and one they would love to match. When Taylor Lamb transferred to Calhoun this year, he and Ben began dreaming.
"We talked about how special it would be to play together, since the last time his dad was a quarterback and my dad was a receiver they won a state championship," Ben Lamb said. "We talked about how special it would be if we could do that."
Of course, history can also be cruel. Calhoun has lost three consecutive title games to the same team, Buford, that also put Ray Lamb's Commerce teams out of the playoffs in the next three seasons following the '81 championship. If Calhoun and Buford, which plays Carter of Columbus tonight, each win tonight, they will face off yet again next Friday.
"We're not worried about Buford right now," Hal Lamb said. "We want to get there, but we have to take care of Appling first. This is an opportunity to play for another state championship, but we have our hands full this week."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...